Once every 10 years the conservation community and global leaders convene at the IUCN World Parks Congress. Here they discuss the current state of the natural environment, the role that protected areas play in safeguarding its future and the progress that has been made in the last 10 years. This week I am lucky enough to have travelled with colleagues from ZSL and UCL to this decade’s event which is taking place in Sydney, Australia.
But why are we here? Why is it worth us travelling to the other side of the world for this event? The congress will be attended by over 5,000 delegates from all corners of the globe, an excellent audience to showcase some of our work to, such as Instant Wild, SMART and our research in the Chagos Marine Reserve. But more importantly, it gives us the chance to learn from others, forge new partnerships and create original approaches for conservation and development back in our own countries.
Today we attended the opening ceremony at Sydney Olympic Park where we were given a traditional welcome from the aboriginal communities of the area, the ancestral owners of the surrounding lands. Their elaborate dances and emotive music marked the official opening of the congress and also brought home one of the key messages: local people have to be integral to any conservation action we choose to take now and in the future. The opening ceremony also included announcements that Australia will ban dumping and minimise dredging in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and that Gabon is to create a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) covering 23% of its territorial waters. A great start indeed! Let’s hope for more similar pledges over the coming week.
During the next 8 days we will be chewing the cud on all things related to conservation and protected areas. ZSL and UCL are presenting a number of talks over the course of the congress and I will be blogging every couple of days about the event. I will also be tweeting regularly from the conference, so for live updates follow me at @d_curnick, @ZSLConservation or follow the congress at #WorldParksCongress.
Select a blog
Our people are our greatest asset and we realise our vision for a world where wildlife thrives through their ideas, skills and passion. An inspired, informed and empowered community of people work, study and volunteer together at ZSL.
At ZSL, a key area of our work is the employment of Nature-based Solutions – an approach which both adapt to and mitigates the impacts of climate change. These Solutions, which include habitat protection and restoration, are low-cost yet high-impact, and provide multiple benefits to people and wildlife. We ensure that biodiversity recovery is at the heart of nature-based solutions.
A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.
Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!
We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.
From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.
A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.
Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.
Read testimonials from our Members and extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.
ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.
An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.